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THE EATBEAT: ‘The Moon’ offers endless choices in a local sports-themed setting

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accent Grand Forks, 58203

Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

The salad bar at the Italian Moon becomes a brunch bar on Sundays. That is why we chose “the Moon” when Laura Jane Paulson (LJP) and her daughter, Joann Vollrath (JV), suggested stopping somewhere to eat after church.

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Parking is easy around “The Moon.” The salad bar is located near the entry where there is a fireplace and booths along one side. Beyond, there are more booths and tables in two areas and a meeting room.

On Sundays, you find the somewhat different fare on the salad bar than on other days. There is pizza, with crust light and tasty. There are omelet-style egg dishes. And there are plenty of choices.

LJP and I filled our plates with food from the brunch bar and JV sensibly settled for a salad. I chose a serving of an omelet along with pizza topped with cheese. The crust was light, and there was just enough pepperoni to add a little zip to the flavor.

On other days of the week, the salad bar begins with meat and potatoes, gravy, green beans, macaroni and cheese. There is homemade soup to start the meal. The choices are good, but there is sometimes a problem keeping the buffet table neat.

The menu itself at the Italian Moon seems endless with all kinds of pizza along with lavosh. And you can even find calzones ($6.49) on the menu. Beyond the appetizers, there are burgers, sandwiches and subs.

Cod and fresh tilapia dinners as well as shrimp are there for customers who observe Lent without meat. There is a complete listing of Mexican fare.

We were able to enjoy a brunch with choices from the Sunday salad bar. LJP knows food pretty well. She is the retired food services director for Grand Forks city schools. We asked for coffee, and when mine turned up lukewarm, I asked for a heat-up. The heat-up was also lukewarm. A third time brought success. The server on duty was very pleasant, and I learned later something had gone wrong with the coffee machine.

The Moon is one of the few home-owned restaurants that has succeeded through the decades in Grand Forks. It was established on a small-scale by the late Keith Moon in 1965. In 1974, it was sold to Ken Towers and the late Dave Rubin. And over the years, the menu has grown and the restaurant redecorated.

The booths have a knotty pine look. Tables along the front of the restaurant allow customers to look out on the Washington Street traffic. There is a meeting room with a welcoming fireplace. It is also accommodates groups including a Kiwanis Club. And it becomes the scene of bridal parties and sports celebrations.

There are pictures on the wall of the Alsen, N.D., championship basketball team in 1957 and 1958. That’s where Towers played. And there are more pictures of the Central High School championship team and the 1969 Red River High School championship team coached by Ken Towers.

The restaurant has long been a favorite of sports-minded people. And Towers has been generous in support of athletic teams at the high schools as well as UND.

Italian Moon

810 S. Washington St., Grand Forks

Owner: Ken Towers.

Manager: Brent Moen.

Hours: Opens daily at 11 a.m.; closes 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Reservations and deliveries: (701) 772-7277.

Beer, wine license.

Report card: Pizza, pasta and more are featured on the extensive menu. Prices are moderate. Surroundings are unpretentious, inviting. Easy parking off South Washington Street.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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